Undocumented Residents and Access to the COVID-19 Vaccine
Lopez says that COVID vaccine sites often ask for at least one source of identification, like social security numbers, which undocumented populations might not possccess. SBC Public Health Director Dr. Van Do Reynoso responded by detailing how the elderly undocumented woman in North County was denied a vaccination because she didn’t have an appointment. Following up the story from the Santa Barbara Independent, Valerio asked Lopez for tips he would give to community members who are turned down from the vaccine. Lopez says he advises community members to reach out to local organizations that they trust for resources and help. Lopez also goes on to say that his organization has reached out to certain administrators participating in the distribution of the vaccine in order to educate them about the negative impacts of refusing the vaccine to residents without documentation. Many providers have listened to these concerns, and been open to work on ideas to address these issues. Some of the solutions Lopez lists include providing community members with IDs, making PSAs, and educating the undocumented population by providing infomation in their language. More information on how people can schedule an appointment for a vaccine can be found at publichealthsbc.org/vaccine.